Next month (1st November 2012), Shaun Hockey will embark on a demanding four-week quest to Zimbabwe, where he will live and work on Churchill Farm, raising funds for a new facility for the Kent Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre (KMSTC).
Shaun will be working hands-on for the month on the busy farm, which specialises in picking and packing stone fruit, alongside the 3,000 other workers. Any spare time he has will involve visiting local projects and schools to share some of his experiences.
Not one for undertaking the ‘usual’ fundraising activities, Shaun, who currently works for Dartford-based leading UK fruit supplier, Chingford Fruit, is keen on giving something back to society, having visited – but never working at – farms in developing countries in recent years.
At 44, commercial manager at Chingford Fruit, Shaun, is the same age as the average life expectancy in Zimbabwe. He said:
“I have been in the fresh produce industry for over 20 years and I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive impacts that enterprises, like Churchill Farm in Zimbabwe, can have on local communities.
“By providing much-needed employment, childcare, housing, sex education, counselling on HIV and AIDS and a health clinic, this farm is creating a community of its own.
“This experience, although unusual, will allow me to understand the challenges and day-to-day life of working on a Zimbabwean farm, which provides some of the fruit that we see on our supermarket shelves every day, and to really appreciate the hard work behind sourcing the fruit from the people who make the farm a success.
“Without these export sales, the future of the farm, and the employment that it brings, is at risk, so my aim is to raise the awareness of this journey, and to pass on as much of my fruit knowledge as possible.”
Shaun, who is 20 years married to Nathalie, and has two children Jacques (17) and Isabelle (14), has the ultimate aim of raising awareness of the positive impact UK retailers can have on this community in Zimbabwe, as well as hoping to raise much-needed funds for the KMSTC.
Shaun decided to fundraise for KMSTC with it being a local charity, particularly after hearing about their ‘Butterfly Appeal’.
The Appeal’s aim is to raise £1.3m to build a new centre with expansive services that will be able to respond fully and appropriately to the increasing needs of people living with MS.
For every £1 raised for the Butterfly Appeal, the Kent MS Therapy Centre’s patron, Frank Brake, will double the amount.
Mary Daly from KMSTC, said:
“We’re so proud of Shaun and are delighted that he has decided to help us raise awareness of the Butterfly Appeal.
“What he is doing is life changing, and as someone who has suffered from MS for 11 years, I know how important his fundraising efforts are.
“Having people like Shaun helping us spread awareness to create this new centre is fantastic. The treatments we receive from the centre give sufferers great hope as we wait for a cure.
“We’d like to wish Shaun the very best of luck for his trip and hope that as many people as possible donate what they can to such a worthy cause.”
Donate to Shaun at http://www.justgiving.com/